Using the past to leverage the present

I recently had a healthy debate with someone who told me that the past doesn’t equal the present -that bringing up bad history to make a point doesn’t matter because the present is more important. I could see that, if accountability or klout was something that you weren’t looking for. My argument was,  “reputation” and credibility do matter in every aspect of life. They are huge influences on how we make choices and who we “stick with.” I think a person’s track record matters so we can support arguments and make accurate decisions.


What if I went to a doctor and he threw out all records on file of my history of sickness. Would he be able to make a professional opinion on how to treat me now? What if I wanted a raise at work, but my boss had no track record on my performance? I guess, I could say that the past doesn’t equal to the present and you should give me what I want anyways. No one likes bringing up bad news or reminding us of our flaws. It hurts both ways. But, sometimes it needs to be done for the sake of progress. When bringing new products to the market, or deploying new ideas and even involving good, hard working people, after years of effort and time,  experts STILL must ask, ” what needs to be improved.” “This could be better.” ” This area is lagging.” And the process is painful.

In the real world, many countless industries use and analyze old data to make newer decisions. I could go on and on, from the way we select jurors, hear testimony from witnesses, to policeman making arrests, to getting a raise at work, choosing a business partner and why our own history  is important to identify credibility. Where should we look if we are going to make a quick decision of how we treat, manage, punish, or engage with people? We look at their history.

In this aspect, I think I made a clear case. Credibility matters and unfortunately that’s how we move and progress to a better lifestyle. Asking tough questions and answering tough questions. Comparing efforts made 5, 10 years ago to today. Credibility, progress and history. Would you accept advice from a homeless person on how to refinance your house or diversify your stock portfolio? No? Why not? Would you accept the advice on diet tips from an obese person? No? Why not? Credibility.

Now, the real issue here is how do you overcome this obstacle? Have you ever looked someone up and down, said “no” to yourself and eventually take a chance on them? What kind of criteria was needed for you to change your mind? Maybe you were a hiring manager and hired someone with little or no job experience or education. Maybe, you were undecided and voted for a Right or Left wing party. Maybe, you were a teacher and left the classroom unsupervised. Maybe, you were a policeman and let someone go with just a warning.

You would think the difference between giving up on someone with a bad track record and giving someone a chance  with a bad track record, depends randomly on circumstance and current state of mind/mood. I think it might be, Imagination.  Yes, imagination. Like, someone that “flips” a house. They walk into a house in really poor condition, want to gut it and visualize an entirely different scenario despite the risk and effort.

People that can actually visualize the future positively, imagining white picket fences, dandelions, sunshine and rainbows and beautiful renovated houses may be that much closer to getting “there” than the others that just calculate risk and make logical decisions. Thoughts?

I think any time anyone is at the crossroads of continuing or ending a relationship with a bad track record, …imagine what it could be, not what it is. And go from there.


4 thoughts on “Using the past to leverage the present

  1. Imagine the consequences. They might not come out exactly as you predicted, but it will give you a better view of what might happen.
    Think about how this will affect others. Would it hurt them, help them, etc.?


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